A walk to Lake Iguaque

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Colombia-Iguaque, a set on Flickr.

We left at dawn from Villa de Leyva, hiring a bus to take us up to to the  national park headquarters and start of the track to Iguaque.  Mid-slope tropical forest persists in the moist valleys here, whereas exposed hill-slopes support only low chapparal vegetation in these drier central Andes.  We encountered a variety of closed-forest species in this habitat, including Emerald Toucanet, Golden-fronted Whitestart, Blueish Flower-piercer, Ashy-throated Bush-tanager, Band-tailed Pigeon and Andean Guan.  The bamboo and thickets echoed to the melodic calls of Grey-breasted Woodwren.  The Paramo was surprisngly quiet for birds with only a few hummingbirds, including Bearded helmet-crest, possibly due to the warm sun on a normally cloudy habitat.  On our return we were rewarded with excellent views of the endemic Golden-bellied Star Frontlet feeding along the trail near the park entrance.

For the next month I am lucky enough to be hosted at the converted Monastery “Claustro de San Augustin” In the beautiful town of Villa De Leyva which houses the bird collection of the institute Alexander von Humboldt.  I will be measuring functional trait in birds of cloud forests, another important and threatened climate refuge in the Tropical Andes.  Stay tuned for upcoming posts on a whirlwind birding tour of the study sites in Antióquia and Risaralda which form part of my current post-doc project.

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